Justice Served Man Sentenced to 33 Years to Life for Brutal 2020 Stabbing Death of Girlfriend

by Jessica

A man, Euren Balbuena, has been sentenced to 33 years to life in prison this week for the 2020 stabbing death of his live-in girlfriend, Zaira Patino-Trejo, and the assault of her mother, who attempted to intervene. Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko confirmed the sentencing on Jan. 17. Balbuena was convicted on Nov. 21, 2023, for first-degree murder, battery causing great bodily injury, and assault with a deadly weapon against his girlfriend’s mother. The jury also found special allegations of the use of a deadly weapon and great bodily injury to be true.

The incident unfolded on Feb. 27, 2020, when officers responded to a welfare check near East Los Angeles and Emory avenues in response to a 51-year-old woman’s report that her daughter, Patino-Trejo, had been stabbed by her boyfriend, Balbuena. The victim’s mother, who had facial lacerations, ran bleeding from the apartment and sought help from bystanders, leading to a 911 call.

Upon entering the home, officers discovered Patino-Trejo in the kitchen with multiple stab wounds, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim’s mother, who sustained injuries, was transported to a local hospital and survived.

Prosecutors argued that Balbuena and Patino-Trejo had a dispute, and when the victim’s mother attempted to intervene, Balbuena attacked her with a kitchen knife. Balbuena then prevented his girlfriend from leaving and inflicted more than 30 stab wounds with multiple knives. The total number of stabbings and slashings reached around 95.

During Balbuena’s sentencing hearing, Patino-Trejo’s family read impact statements. A courtroom fight erupted when the victim’s stepfather lunged toward Balbuena. The bailiffs separated them, and the stepfather was removed from the courtroom. Supervising Senior Deputy District Attorney Melissa Suttner expressed hope that the sentence would provide some relief to the family and emphasized seeking justice for Zaira Patino-Trejo.

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